The Department of Defense (DoD) recently adopted a final rule amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS). The rule implements increased whistleblower protections for contractor and subcontractor employees from Section 827 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.
The rule broadens and clarifies whistleblower protections for federal contractor and subcontractor employees. Significantly, the protections now extend to an employee of a “contractor, subcontractor, or grantee” who makes a claim of gross mismanagement, gross waste, abuse of authority, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or a violation of a law, rule, or regulation related to a federal contract. For more information, please review the DoD’s Final Rule Announcement and Proskauer’s coverage of the rule’s development on July 2, 2013 and October 4, 2013.
OFCCP recently updated its website with additional information for contractors to assist with their compliance with the final rule issued under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. The information addresses recruiting individuals with disabilities, encouraging self-disclosure of disabilities, and information about assistive technology. OFCCP also recently updated other parts of its website as discussed in a previous entry.
For a summary of the Final Regulations, please review our comprehensive client alert and our Webinar concerning the Final Regulations. Proskauer has developed a comprehensive set of compliance materials to help contractors implement the new compliance obligations imposed by the final rule.
The Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on Friday which would change reporting requirements for federal contractors under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (“VEVRAA”). Under the proposed rule, covered contractors would be required to report information about protected veteran employees “in the aggregate” instead of for each protected VEVRAA and EEO-1 job category. Contractors are covered by the proposed rule if they have been awarded or granted contracts or subcontracts of $100,000 or more entered into or modified on or after December 1, 2003. The current “VETS-100A” reports would be renamed “VETS-4212” reports.
The NPRM also proposes to rescind reporting requirements applicable to contracts and subcontracts entered into before December 1, 2003 because the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (“VETS”) believes they have become obsolete.
Comments on the NPRM will be accepted through April 25, 2014.
Please join us on Tuesday, February 25 for a Webinar addressing the many significant developments in 2013 in federal and state whistleblower legislation and litigation, with a particular emphasis on Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and False Claims Act (FCA) developments. Our speakers will also offer practical advice to employers regarding preparing for and defending whistleblower claims and their predictions for the coming year. For more information, please click here.
OFCCP recently updated its Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) on the implementation of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (“VEVRAA”) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act final rules. The FAQs address a range of questions that have arisen since the OFCCP first announced the final rules in August 2013.
Most of the new requirements of the Final Regulations go into effect on March 24, 2014. For a summary of the Final Regulations, please review our comprehensive client alert or our Webinar concerning the Final Regulations. Proskauer has developed a comprehensive set of compliance materials to help contractors implement the new compliance obligations imposed by the Final Regulations.
Earlier this week, the Professional Services Council filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in support of a writ of certiorari of a Third Circuit decision regarding contractor immunity in war zones. The case involves a wrongful death suit by the estate of a member of the military who was accidentally electrocuted in Iraq while taking a shower in his barracks. Continue Reading
Yesterday, President Obama issued an Executive Order to increase the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors and subcontractors to $10.10 an hour. President Obama announced the Order at his State of the Union address last month. The Executive Order states that “[r]aising the pay of low-wage workers increases their morale and the productivity and quality of their work, lowers turnover and accompanying costs, and reduces supervisory costs.” Continue Reading
On February 6, 2014, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that the agency will federalize the “quality review process” of its background investigations. OPM had previously engaged federal contractors to conduct agency background investigations, including the quality review procedures and back office support. Continue Reading
On January 23, 2014, the Department of Defense and General Services Administration issued a final report making recommendations for the development of cybersecurity standards in the acquisition and contracting process. The report, entitled “Improving Cybersecurity and Resilience Through Acquisition,” seeks “to recommend how cyber risk management and acquisition process in the Federal government can be better aligned.” Among other things, the report recommends that the federal government adopt baseline cybersecurity requirements as a condition of contract award and that contractors address cybersecurity issues through periodic training.
The report demonstrates the government’s heightened interest in cybersecurity issues and the need for contractors to stay on top of developments in cybersecurity standards and requirements.
OFCCP is seeking public comment its form for individual complaints of discrimination and retaliation. An employee or applicant of a federal contractor may file a complaint of discrimination or retaliation with the OFCCP. The OFCCP has a form for such complaints, designated Form CC-4. The two-page form seeks identifying information about the complainant, a description of the events that form the basis of the complaint, whether complainant believes others have experienced the same type of discrimination by the federal contractor, and whether the complainant is represented by counsel. The public has until April 7, 2014 to submit comments about the form. OFCCP has asked for the public to (1) comment on whether the information it requests on the form is necessary for OFCCP to perform its functions, (2) comment on whether its estimate of the time to complete the form is accurate, and (3) make suggestions to improve the form.
Comments may be submitted through http://www.regulations.gov/ or may be addressed to Debra Carr, Director, Division of Policy, Planning and Program Development, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Room C3325, Washington, D.C. 20210.